NIMBYs vs 2009 Bay to Breakers Footrace: More Rules, Less Fun

It had to happen. The NIMBYs of San Francisco, some of the very same who killed the harmless, adorable Panhandle Bandshell, have set their sights on the historic, annual ING Bay to Breakers Footrace. So there are going to be some changes: 1. No alcohol; 2. No carts (for beer or strippers or anything else); 3. More Dumpsters; and 4. A corral system (like what they use for cattle) at the start.

Of course things got a little out of hand last year. (Admittedly.) But I’ll tell you right now, it appears the no carts rule is really going to cut down on the amount of stuff people will bring along, and that will cut down on the creativity and the fun. How will participants react? Stay tuned.

Now let’s review races past and then check out all the new rules courtesy of the most corporate Facebook page in all Christendom.

You see? The frivolous and the serious can all get along. Despite any distractions, this Autodesk centipede team of athletic nerds did very well. Click to expand.

Also count this Bay Area local among the serious. She finished way early and wouldn’t ever care a whit about all the shenanigans that come along behind. Good for her. (Note yellow police tape in the background temporarily blocking access to the only bathroom in the Panhandle – that’s curious)

Who came later? Well, all the fun people, with their beer carts and what have you. What’s wrong with that?

via Dave Shumaker

Of course, this can lead to peeing Elvises. Maybe ING should spring for more Porta Pottis (if they all haven’t been burned down by then)? 

via Turkeybot

So this is what Golden Gate Park looks like after the race:

And of course there’s the inevitable MUNI meltdown, with people waiting and waiting for buses that will come, eventually: 

But don’t let this new crackdown, this example of the Death of Fun, get you down. This year, make an effort to actually throw away and recycle stuff, all right? Else next year, they’ll have cattle prods to go with the chutes and corrals.

After all, Bay to Breakers isn’t just some historical race – it’s a big party for the City. Leave us not forget that the B2B is all about junior astronauts with Bono sunglasses in the middle of the street

via jaydoubleyougee

…and fun, in-shape, MySpace-ready, self-proclaimed WHITE TRASH PRINCESSES:

via I’m Combing My Hair

How are these people going to carry around their full drum kits, their Budweisers, their Pepsis, and all their other paraphernalia without wheeled carts? You don’t want to drive these fun folks away, right? Can’t we, the serious runners, the other participants, and the neighbors (the vast majority of whom aren’t actually NIMBYs) all try to get along? That’s something to ponder over the next few months.

[A note to serious runners: Once again, the mainstream media and ING have it wrong about the elevation profile of this race. The highest point on the course isn’t actually the top of the Hayes Street Hill near Alamo Square, it’s in freaking Golden Gate Park. This is non-trivial because it explains why you go slower than you think you will in the middle of the race. Now if people want to say that the Hayes Street Hill subjectively feels like the highest point, well then go right ahead and then I’ll never raise the issue again.]

See you there (anyway)!

Read on for all the deets:


The start line will be organized using corrals, beginning with our 2009 race. Start corrals are designated starting areas for participants with similar estimated finishing times. Each start corral will have a designated number of runners. The corrals will all start at 8:00am and, although your timing chip will not start timing until the moment you cross the start line, corrals are standard race practice and will help provide a safe, fluid, and less congested start of the race. Entry points to the start area will be determined by your assigned corral. Only registered participants will be admitted to the Start and Finish areas.

How are the starting corrals assigned?
Each corral is assigned during registration by selecting your estimated finishing time. CORRALS ARE ASSIGNED ON A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE BASIS. If you register for a corral and it is sold out, you will be moved to the next fastest available corral.

Corral               Bib Color          Estimated Finishing Time
A                      Blue                  under 59:00    (8:00 per mile)
B                      Blue                  under 1:15:00 (10:00 per mile)
C                      Lime Green       under 1:30:00 (12:00 per mile)
D                      Lime Green       under 2:00:00 (16:00 per mile)
E                      Yellow              over 2 hours    (walkers)

When should I arrive at my assigned corral?
It is recommended you arrive at your assigned corral no later than 7:15 am.

How do I find my start corral?
The entrance to your corral matches the color of your racing bib. The corral name is on the bottom left corner of your racing bib – A, B, C, D, or E. Signs will be posted indicating the entrance to each corral.

Can I run with friends in a corral other than my assigned corral?
You can run in a SLOWER corral than the one assigned, but you may not move into a faster corral.

Do seeded and sub-seeded runners need to select a corral?
No. Sub-seeded and seeded runners must submit a qualifying time and follow the instructions listed here.


ING Bay to Breakers, San Francisco Police Announce New Safety Measures and Alcohol Policy for 2009 Race

ING Bay to Breakers 12K Implements New Policies to Promote Race Enjoyment and Ensure Safety of Race Participants and Cleanliness of Race Course Neighborhoods

The ING Bay to Breakers and San Francisco police and City officials today announced several new policies will be enforced to improve the safety and enjoyment of the race for runners, spectators and neighbors during this year’s 98th running of the ING Bay to Breakers on May 17.

“We have listened closely to concerns from race participants, residents along the race course, and civic leaders. In response to safety, logistical and trash issues, we are instituting new policies in cooperation with the San Francisco Police Department and City officials,” said Angela Fang, general manager of the race.

“The ING Bay to Breakers is about promoting community, physical fitness, and giving athletes and fitness enthusiasts the chance to compete in and enjoy one of the most exhilarating and scenic footraces in the world. We’re still focused on the fun, vitality and unique culture of the race–we’re just removing the alcohol and the hazards. We feel that these changes will enhance the race experience for all involved,” Fang added.

The following changes have been made to the 98th ING Bay to Breakers, as well as future races:

 —  Zero tolerance policy on alcohol. Anyone openly drinking alcohol or
     displaying public drunkenness will be subject to fines and
 —  All wheeled objects and floats are prohibited. Inappropriate equipment
     on the streets is dangerous and can prevent runners and walkers from
     completing the race in a timely manner.
 —  Leave no footprint. Additional dumpsters will be placed along the
     course for trash.

“We are all working together to enforce these new zero tolerance policies,” said Jim Lynch, assistant chief of the San Francisco Police Department. “We want to ensure that the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers is a safe and enjoyable event for everyone–race participants, families, residents and spectators included.”

“The North Panhandle Neighborhood Association is supportive of the ING Bay to Breakers race instituting a zero tolerance policy for alcohol possession and public drinking.  We want to see the race get back to its roots and focus on the sport of running, the celebration of San Francisco’s diversity, and the spirit of community. In recent years, the level of alcohol consumption has overpowered the event and made the race displeasing for the neighborhoods through which it runs,” said Kevin Rafter, president of the association.

Fang called the ING Bay to Breakers race “a celebration of the unique spirit of San Francisco. Thousands of costumed participants, families, and neighborhood residents from diverse communities come to cheer on professional and recreational runners and walkers,” she said. “In keeping with both the integrity of the athletic competition and the fun, welcoming spirit of the race, we ask that participants and spectators respect the race route and the communities along the race course. This means leaving alcohol and wheeled floats at home, and putting trash and recyclables in their proper place.”

In further support of the community, ING Bay to Breakers pays the City of San Francisco several hundred thousand dollars in fees, generates millions of dollars in travel and tourism, and creates hundreds of event-related jobs for local community youth groups and schools. The race also makes significant contributions to a number of local charities.

The race draws approximately 65,000 participants and 100,000 spectators to San Francisco.  The ING Bay to Breakers 12K was recently named by ESPN as one of the “101 things all sports fans must experience before they die,” and already more than 6,000 registrants have signed up for the May 17 race. Fang assures that by adopting these new measures, “we are ensuring that runners, walkers and spectators enjoy a safe, fun event.”

About ING Bay to Breakers 12K

Now in its 98th year, the ING Bay to Breakers 12K is one of the world’s largest and oldest footraces, held annually in San Francisco, California. The name reflects the course which takes tens of thousands of participants from the northeast end of downtown San Francisco, near The Embarcadero(the “bay” side of the city), to the west end of the city and the “breakers” of Ocean Beach. The 7.46 mile (12 kilometer) race features world-class athletes in addition to costumed runners and ‘fun-loving’ folks out for a great day of running and walking through San Francisco. For more information, visit

Join the discussion or just stay up to date with news, fun facts and photos by visiting ING Bay to Breakers online at Facebook (, Flickr

(, or Twitter (

About ING

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 130,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.

In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 14 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit

ING Bay to Breakers 12K 2009 Sponsors

ING Bay to Breakers 12K 2009 sponsors include title sponsor ING, Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, Southwest Airlines, Reebok, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Salonpas, Hyatt Regency of San Francisco, Crystal Geyser, Barefoot Wines, The Examiner, WILD 94.9, STAR 101.3,, California Track & Running News, Lamar Transit, and AEG.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “NIMBYs vs 2009 Bay to Breakers Footrace: More Rules, Less Fun”

  1. Matt says:

    Good thing I live on the route and all who want will be able to drink in my front yard in the panhandle. This is such a let down, but if San Francisco wants to be a Cleveland or Minneapolis let it be. I guess the wants of homeowners and their property values are more important than the wants of renters who comprise 65 percent of the population of the city.

    It was fun while it lasted.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Good point. The neighborhood groups in the area treat their members who rent as second class citizens.

    The owners are a small, but powerful, minority.

  3. Noah says:

    Hey SF Citizen,

    Thanks for reporting on this. I’ve created a group on F-Book called “Save Bay to Breakers”, which we’ll be using as a vehicle to mobilize like-minded SanFranciscans and track the public outcry. Please consider joining our group and showing ING and the powers that be that SF wants the real B2B or none at all!

  4. Kevin says:

    When does the whole B2B festivities end? Not the lame racers, I’m curious what time the whole race, meaning the drunken walkers, get past the Divisadero/Fell street section and get into the park? I don’t remember and I’m trying to make our plans, can anyone help me out??? THANKS